Review: Schemawound – They Want To Make Your Body Move. I Want To Hold You Perfectly Still.

It’s an intriguing title for sure. Are “they” the DJs that pump unrelenting 4/4 into massive clubs at drunken punters, or perhaps the “system” that quashes opportunities for meditation and contemplation in favour of long days spent in factories and offices? Is the “body” that of a human, or a personification of a sound object? Or is it the commercialised world, which heaves with thousands of noises all blaring at once when Schemawound wishes to listen intently to just one sound in isolation?

The album is, according to Siemasko himself, “an exploration of small events magnified”; patient evocations of solitary ideas, gently rotated and reshaped. Each piece is treated like an object, lingering long enough for each detail of the sound to be examined and known; the noise verges on coming into material being, fighting against sound’s momentary existence to outstay its welcome in the now, thus bringing it into intimate contact with its listener/beholder. To adopt one possible interpretation of the album’s title, Schemawound transforms sound’s status as a verb – a motion, a happening – and gifts it the sense of shape and density necessary to make it a noun, an object.

Devised entirely in Supercollider (a program for real-time audio synthesis), these object nonetheless taking on mysterious and abstract forms. “Fall Asleep Walking” shudders gently like the sound of two muffled helicopter blades spinning at different speeds; it tilts giddily between pitches and volumes, teasing the listener’s sense of orientation and causing the horizon to see-saw and sway. Meanwhile, “The Same Color As Your Skin” (the initial version of which appeared in ATTN’s own SIGNALVOID compilation) sounds like watching a bird collapse out of the sky in slow motion, with a ghostly drone melting through a steady downward glissando. Like watching a candle flicker and dance, movement occurs within the sonic object; the body does not transform, but merely flexes its many limbs to conjure new shapes.

But the album is not without its narrative turns, and uses these fixations of state to bring a real sense of drama to the album’s track transitions. One of the most engrossing transformations occurs as the thin bubble jets and metallic hiss of “The Crawl” promptly replace the aforementioned drone descent of “The Same Color As Your Skin”, as if burrowing beneath the earth to reveal an underground stream of high-pressure water flow and surreal hallucinations. Aside from a couple of pauses for breath, the record is largely seamless, with each sound event sprouting its very form from the decay of the track previous – it’s an album that beckons intense and continuous concentration, with the listener forever clutching at the sound object that convulses and changes within their hands.